The Concealed Carry Lifestyle

I’ve always been a staunch conservative and firm supporter in our nation’s Constitution (note the capital “C”), a document that continues to govern our people through Democrat and Republican administrations alike. I am and always will be a strong and vocal supporter of our Second Amendment rights; our Founding Fathers chose the words “shall not be infringed” very carefully. I am also a firm believer that with every right comes a responsibility . . .

Responsibility & Duty

When someone decides to get their concealed handgun license (CHL), they do more than just attend a class and take a shooting test. For better or for worse, they decide to change their lifestyle. They don’t just “strap on a six shooter” like the old westerns’ depict. When someone exercises their Second Amendment rights and carries a concealed handgun, they take on an extra burden and a significant responsibility to themselves, their family and their community.

Carrying a concealed handgun doesn’t make you Superman. It won’t make you any stronger or any faster. If you carry a concealed handgun and feel somehow tougher, more confident or less afraid, it’s time to put up your firearm and see a shrink. Most people that have carried concealed for several years describe their feeling as a sense of “duty” or “responsibility.” That’s exactly right.

When you carry a concealed firearm you are held to a higher standard of conduct by society—which makes perfect sense. You carry the means to protect life and to deal out death. You become more than an average citizen hoping that the violence continues to pass you by. You become responsible for your own fate and for the fate of those you choose to protect. By carrying a concealed handgun you have decided to become something more than you were before. You are no longer a potential victim and you are no man’s prey.

Lifestyle Changes

Carrying a firearm comes with an awesome set of responsibilities. There are an almost endless set of rules and regulations that you must live by (depending upon where you live) and lifestyle changes that will affect you, your family and your job. None of these lifestyle changes are easy. All come at a cost in both financial and personal terms.

Which Firearm to Carry?

Choosing the right firearm to carry concealed is a primary consideration. Choose incorrectly and you’ll waste a lot of money. Make a really foolish choice and you could end up dead.

I carried a Smith & Wesson M&P 9mm Pro Series for several years before switching to a Kimber 1911. Like a lot of “old timers,” I never liked the weight and balance of a polymer gun. But concealing a full size 1911 is pretty tough unless you’re a very big person. Luckily, Kimber makes a full line of lightweight, alloy frame carry pistols like the Tactical II Ultra.

Stock or Modified?

There’s nothing wrong with carrying a stock handgun. Manufacturers offer an enormous selection of pistols in a farrago of sizes and calibers. The chances of finding a carry gun that suits your skills and physical characteristics are high. If you’re confused, head to your local range and rent a number of guns to find the system, style and caliber weapon you can shoot accurately and reliably.

Most gun ranges and gun dealers will let you try on a holster with a safety-checked weapon. Do so. But don’t assume that you’ll get it right the first time. And don’t be afraid to “roll your own.” For example . . .

Kimber and I differ somewhat on the features that are important in a small frame 1911. So I set about to create my “Perfect Ultra for Concealed Carry” using the highest quality aftermarket parts I could afford. Yes, I would love to carry around a Bill Wilson Carry Model but $3250 is a bit steep for my taste.

My goal in replacing the parts shown above: create a carry weapon that’s both lightweight and concealable. I started by throwing out the factory stock magazine with it’s large plastic base. I replaced it with a Wilson Combat 47OCX (compact 7-round, stainless steel with a low profile steel base) magazine. Wilson makes what I believe are the most reliable 1911 magazines on the market today; the stainless steel models with nylon followers are top notch.

To prevent my Ultra from snagging my clothing I replaced the factory stock ambidextrous thumb safety with a Wilson Combat “Tactical Lever” thumb safety. It’s much smoother and smaller than Kimber’s thumb safeties. I also replaced the stock slide release with Wilson’s extended slide release, allowing me to fully manipulate all my carry pistol’s “controls” without breaking my grip.

To trim a 1/4th inch from the overall height I removed the stock mag well and plastic mainspring housing. I replaced these parts with a Wilson Combat blued steel mainspring housing. I also replaced the factory standard thumb safety with a Kimber “tactical bump” thumb safety. To fit the new bump safety and mainspring housing took only a few minutes with a jeweler’s file and some Birchwood Casey “Cold Blue” to prevent rust.

To finish off my customizations I chose a set of VZ Grips’ “Elite Tactical Carry” grips. Their unique design incorporates an extremely grippy surface where your fingers rest—whilst providing a smooth surface to prevent your clothing from snagging when carrying concealed.

 The finished gun is shown above and below. On the left side: all the controls needed to comfortably run this weapon when the need arises. On the right side: a compact and smooth profile to prevent “printing” when carrying concealed.

So what did all this cost me in terms of time, effort and cold, hard cash?

Kimber Tactical II Ultra $1250.00
Wilson Combat (47OCX) Magazine $37.95
Wilson Combat (92BFO) Mainspring Housing $46.95
Wilson Combat (6BNBP) Tactical Thumb Safety $57.95
Wilson Combat (7B) Extended Slide Release $32.95
Kimber (1100634A) Tactical Bump Grip Safety $34.95
VZ Grips’ Elite Tactical Carry Grips $65.00

My Total: $1525.75
The Wilson Combat “Ultralight Carry Compact”: $3250.00

Which Holster to Carry?

Once you decide upon your carry pistol of choice, your next major decision is which holster (and magazine carrier) to carry it in. This is where you can spend a small fortune in trying to find the “perfect” concealed carry holster to fit both your weapon and yourself. Most of us that have carried for years have a secret collection of holsters stashed away somewhere in the hope that our wives will never find them.

In the world of concealed carry holsters you have two major decisions to make; IWB or OWB and Leather or Kydex. I’ll make this simple for you. If you’re over 50 with a normal spare-tire around the middle, forget about inside the waistband holsters. If you’re young, in good shape and don’t mind buying your pants one size too big, then by all means give IWB holsters a shot. For most folks however, a high-ride, OWB holster is a much better fit and all you need is a strong (stiff) belt to support the gun’s extra weight.

The decision between leather and Kydex is much less simple but much more important. Like most folks I love the look and feel of a new leather holster but after wearing one for many years I’ve come to the conclusion that Kydex just makes better sense over the long run. Leather holsters start out stiff but flexible and they easily accommodate most weapon platforms on the market today.

There are literally thousands of different leather holsters to chose from with new models being released every year. But leather holsters have one inherent weakness, they stretch over time and become weaker and less rigid. Take a look at any leather holster that’s been worn daily for over a year and you’ll see what I mean. Try running a leather holster in Houston’s heat and humidity and you’ll find that holstering your firearm takes two hands and both eyes.

 Kydex holsters on the other hand, never lose their form or shape no matter what environment they are worn in.  They make drawing your weapon from concealment fast and reliable and also make it possible to holster your weapon with one hand and no peeking.

In the past many Kydex holsters had several major design flaws. They were generally too big, too bulky and too heavy to conceal properly. They were also “butt ugly” as we like to say here in Texas. And finally, they were noisy and scratched the finish right off your expensive firearm. Today however, things have changed and companies like Raven Concealment and Garrett Industries make Kydex holsters specifically designed for the concealed carry market.

My favorite carry holsters today are Garrett’s “Silent Thunder” leather-lined Kydex holsters like the STX and Champion models shown in the image above. Ron & Sheryl Garrett are native Texans that have been making top quality leather and Kydex holsters for years. The Silent Thunder series has many features found only in much more expensive all-leather holsters such as soft leather lining to protect the finish of your carry gun, high quality stainless steel hardware and a very (VERY) slim profile designed to ride high and to hug your body.

With no hard edges to catch your clothing the Silent Thunder holsters are also the most concealable I’ve every carried. Even my college age daughter can conceal an Officer’s model 1911 on her strong side with this holster, not to mention an extra magazine in the matching mag carrier from Garrett Industries. These holster really do live up to their name and drawing from this holster is fast and silent due to the leather lining.

Clothing Choices

The first new article of clothing you’ll need when you decide to carry concealed is a new belt. Don’t laugh guys. That nice thin dress belt hanging in your closet is never going to hold the weight of your holster and gun, let alone keep your pants up. Your going to need a sturdy leather or nylon “operators” belt specifically designed to retain its shape and keep your firearm firmly in place. I prefer a nylon riggers belt with a stiff insert to hold my 1911 and holster but there are many good leather belts on the market that perform just as well.

This goes double for you gals out there too. If you plan to carry concealed those sexy, low riding, hip-hugger jeans with no belt is just not going to work. It’s darn tough to hide even a small firearm if your skin-tight blue jeans are halfway down to your hips ladies.

Another change in wardrobe will be your choice in shirts. If you’re a strapping young lad used to wearing tight t-shirts to impress the ladies you’ll find this change a wee bit harder than us old farts do. In fact, to successfully conceal a handgun under any shirt requires a lot of thought and a bit of experimentation. If you normally wear a polo style shirt you’ll need to buy at least one size larger and plan to wear it untucked at all times. A better choice might be a 5.11 Covert Casual shirt (shown above) which snaps down the front and is cut both wider and longer to help conceal your firearm. These type of shirts are usually available in darker colors which also help hide your weapon. Remember, the whole idea of carrying concealed is to make sure no one knows you have a gun.

A word to the wise about those cool new “tactical” pants and shorts. Leave them for range time guys. Nothing says “newbie shooter” more than a pair of coyote brown tactical pants walking around a Walmart. Good quality, waist-high blue jeans are a much better choice for any CHL holder. You “fit in” almost anywhere in the US wearing blue jeans these days and no one even notices.

One more thing about carrying concealed in the summer. Wearing shorts and carrying concealed is darn near impossible in my opinion. To cover your holster and firearm your shirt has to hang to mid-thigh length. Wear this long of shirt with shorts and folks are gonna notice that something’s just not quite right about you. Once they start looking, they can usually spot your weapon “printing” in a few seconds. The key to carrying concealed is to appear casual, normal and ordinary. Anything that draws attention to you or your clothing is a big giveaway.

Practice Makes Perfect

If you want to carry concealed day in and day out without anyone the being the wiser, you’ll need to practice. You should plan to wear your holster (without your firearm) and your new carry outfit (shirt, pants, belt, etc.) for several weeks almost everywhere you go. Get comfortable putting your car keys in your left front pocket (assuming you carry your holster on the right) to prevent anyone from getting a look at your holster. Practice getting in and out of your vehicle without “showing leather” as the old timers like to say. Get used to holding down the hem of your shirt in a stiff breeze until it comes naturally.

Once you do start carrying, practice around your family until you can sit down for Sunday dinner without your wife and kids suspecting that you’re armed. If you can fool your own kids, the world at large will never know. If your kids know you’re “packing” keep practicing until they can’t tell. Buy larger shirts. Adjust your clothing style to find out what works best for you. Most of all, take the time to become “comfortable” carrying your firearm. Practice at home first and then take your “Wally Walk”.

The more comfortable you are with carrying, the more easily you can conceal what you carry. This is especially true in today’s world of almost constant terrorist threats, TSA pat downs and neighborhood watches. Everyone is watching everyone else these days just looking for something “out of place”. If you are nervous carrying your firearm, it will show in a thousand little ways (tells). Once you become comfortable with your gun, holster and new wardrobe you should be able to carry concealed any place where it’s legal without anyone being the wiser. When you’re ready to test yourself, carry to your local gun store and shop for some cleaning supplies or a new magazine or such. When you check out, ask the cashier if he knew you were carrying. These guys are sharp and if they didn’t know, no one else will either!

Jeff Lynch
Jeff Lynch Photography, Ltd.
Sugar Land, Texas
Blog - Serious Amateur Photography
Follow me on Twitter

44 Responses to The Concealed Carry Lifestyle

  1. avatarRebecca says:

    Excellent article, and much to think about!

  2. avatarVan says:

    “Carrying a concealed handgun doesn’t make you Superman. It won’t make you any stronger or any faster. If you carry a concealed handgun and feel somehow tougher, more confident or less afraid, it’s time to put up your firearm and see a shrink. ”

    “By carrying a concealed handgun you have decided to become something more than you were before. You are no longer a potential victim and you are no man’s prey.”

    Really, I’m not flaming you, but which is it?

    • avatarJames Felix says:

      It’s both. There’s no contradiction there.

      Carrying a handgun doesn’t make you Superman. You’re not bulletproof, you’re not all powerful and you’re not above the law. A gun isn’t a magic wand that will prevent anything bad from happening to you. And you should be carrying a gun because you’re confident, not confident because you carry a gun.

      Having access to that tool though does make you more than you were before, in that you now have the ability to act in situations where you may previously been at the mercy of fate, or worse, people who mean you harm. You have the means to resist aggression, defending yourself or others.

    • Both actually. Carrying a firearm is a right and responsibility. It changes you, your family and your relationship with others but does not make you invulnerable. The other guy can still shoot back.

  3. avatarirock350 says:

    “When someone exercises their Second Amendment rights and carries a concealed handgun, they take on an extra burden and a significant responsibility to themselves, their family and their community.”
    I understand the extra burden of legal responsibility, but what extra responsibility am I taking on when I conceal and carry my firearm that I didn’t already have to my family? And how does being a CHL holder affect your Job unless you are LEO (My personal employer forbids firearms at work, a rule I don’t bother with unless I am traveling, I don’t need to carry a firearm to from my parking garage to my desk.) I like the article about concealment clothing, although as a Texan myself I may suggest that Blue Jeans in the summer can be a very poor choice when the temperature is 100 degrees in the shade. Most of the article is great, but couldn’t you be overdramatizing and playing-up the sense of duty and everything that goes with it about carrying a firearm? The biggest change I have made thus far with my CHL is remembering to give the officer my CHL card with my license when I get pulled over. Owning a CHL doesn’t give you any power you already didn’t have before you were granted your CHL from the state.

    • My point was that many folks (even here in Texas) fail to understand that rights and responsibilities go hand in hand. Carrying a concealed firearm is an awesome responsibility that I see many new (younger) CHL holders fail to understand. I once saw a young friend walk into the Sugar Land post office while carrying concealed. He was going to buy stamps and simply didn’t “think” about where he was walking. I’ve also see someone carry into an elementary school for a choir performance simply because he forgot to “think” about his new responsibility.

      • avatarChuck says:

        I for one unless I have to walk through a metal detector will be armed anyplace that I go

  4. avatarDavid says:

    +1 on Garrett. They are all I use IWB and OWB. Never mar the gun and great people to deal with.

  5. avatarJason says:

    There’s leather… and then there’s horsehide.

  6. avatarMartin Albright says:

    Re: Clothing: Here in CO I find that a casual, short-sleeved shirt worn untucked and unbuttoned makes for perfect concealment without the silly “shoot-me-first-vest” that some CCW holders like to wear.

    Since I wear IWB I require a t-shirt and a tucked-in one at that (pistol grip rubbing against bare skin gets uncomfortable quick.) As long as you aren’t running or race-walking, the shirt should stay in place even while you move. If neccessary you can button the bottom button on the shirt to keep it from “flapping” open.

    Also think about camouflage: If your gun is black (as is my Glock), wear a black t-shirt, that way the gun “disappears” into the background of the t-shirt, meaning that even if the over-shirt flaps open, a casual viewer is not likely to notice the gun. This is also a good reason to avoid chrome/stainless guns and/or fancy walnut grips – they catch the eye much quicker. Plain is good.

    Re: Holsters, I’ve been using a Galco IWB horshide holster for several years and it works great. The key to this type of holster is that it has to be worn at the 3 o’clock position (or the 9 o’clock for you lefties.) It may seem counterintuitive that a gun perched on your hipbone can be comfortable, but you’d be surprised.

    Wear non-tight jeans and take your belt out a notch and it will sit there all day in perfect comfort – even in the car. Trying to wear an IWB holster behind the hipbone is a recipe for extreme discomfort, I can tell you from experience.

  7. Too long a post for me, my attention span can’t handle something like that.

    “our Founding Fathers chose the words “shall not be infringed” very carefully. “

    But, I would mention that the Founding Fathers didn’t choose the “infringed” part as carefully as they did the first three words. The FIRST words of the amendment are what it’s all about.

    • avatarRobert Farago says:

      OMG. Mike, get off the militia thing already.

      The United States Supreme Court has ruled repeatedly and clearly that the argument suggesting that the 2A only exists to enable state militias is a dead parrot. It is no more. It has met its maker. It’s an ex-argument. Let it go. If you feel tempted, think “every one of the rights in the Bill of Rights is an individual right.” ‘Cause you know what? It’s the truth.

      Stick with the “reasonable restrictions” part of McDonald. Otherwise you risk looking insensible to the law of the land. Perish the thought.

      • avatartdiinva says:

        Mike:

        Here are the words found in the Virginia State Constitution which gives a more complete wording to the sentiments of the framers. The Virginia language and the Second Amendment were both written by James Madison:

        “Section 13. Militia; standing armies; military subordinate to civil power.

        That a well regulated militia, composed of the body of the people, trained to arms, is the proper, natural, and safe defense of a free state, therefore, the right of the people to keep and bear arms shall not be infringed; that standing armies, in time of peace, should be avoided as dangerous to liberty; and that in all cases the military should be under strict subordination to, and governed by, the civil power.”

        Note that Militia is the entire “body of the People” and not select elements. Historical use of the Militia by State and Federal governments during the 19th century demonstrate that militia obligation was part of every citizen’s civic duty. (See for example the use of the Militia by the Federal Government in the Black Hawks Wars) Despite what Magoo thinks because he read it in the Huffington Post or Time Magazine, the original Militia concept was a form of conscription.

        There are no collective rights in the Constitution. There are only individual rights. The philosophical basis for the basic US political documents comes from Hobbes and Locke. The concept of “collective rights” comes from Jean Jacque Rousseau’s General Will. With the exception of few anti-Federalist Zealots who never really accepted the Constitution, General Will was anathema to supporters of Republican government. Rousseau and the General Will are the philosophical basis for collectivist political ideologies like Socialism and Fascism (really the same thing.)

    • avatarJames Felix says:

      God help me I know what a waste of time this is but I just can’t help myself.

      Mike, Mike, Mike….

      First, basic English grammar:

      A well regulated militia being necessecary to the security of a free state, the right of the people to keep and bear arms shall not be infringed

      The part that I’ve italicized is what we native English speakers call a “subordinate clause” or “dependent clause”. It can be recognized as such because although it does have a noun and a verb it does not express a complete thought. It’s only purpose is to give greater meaning to the the “independent clause”. The independent clause (which I’ve put in bold above) is called such because it does does express a complete thought. To read the Second Amendment and conclude that it’s purpose is to establish a state-run militia requires you to turn the rules of grammar upside-down for that one sentence, and only that one sentence.

      Next some context.
      The Founders refer to “the people” and “the states” a good number of times throughout the Constitution and it’s perfectly clear what they mean by each term. To say that the 2A is about establishing a militia would, again, require you to adopt definitions of those words that apply in one sentence only. How much sense does that make?

      I could go on, but I want to respect your attention span.

      Look, I understand that you’re hostile to the idea of people owning guns. And I won’t say it’s impossible to make a case for some gun control. But you owe it to both yourself and your audience to make arguments that are grounded in defensible facts. Your militia argument has been so thoroughly discredited by even the most liberal legal scholars that I’m embarrassed for you that you bring it up.

      Unless of course your object was to simply be a troll in which case… touche’, you got me.

      • avatarStephen Lareau says:

        James; “A well regulated militia being necessecary to the security of a free state, ” gives greater meaning to; “the right of the people to keep and bear arms shall not be infringed”. You make it sound as if the subordinate clause here can be omitted without changing the intent of the author. I however feel that the author would tell you that the placement and word choice were deliberate and meaningful. I think you are totally wrong to be embarrassed for Mike.

    • avatarRob Crawford says:

      First three words? “A well regulated”? That’s not even a complete phrase, let alone thought.

      Besides, my state’s law says every adult male is part of the militia.

    • avatarRebecca says:

      In the Bill of Rights, individual rights are enumerated. Now, if it were meant that in 9 of the 10 they were individual rights, and the other one is a group right of some sort, shouldn’t they have spelled that out far more clearly? Why, yes; yes they should have. They didn’t. It’s an individual right, Mike.

      For the rest of my thoughts, go re-read Robert’s reply to you.

    • avatarRalph says:

      “Too long a post for me, my attention span can’t handle something like that.”

      Aha! That’s why you never actually read the Constitution that you often pontificate about. And here I was, thinking that you were just a moron. Boy, is my face red.

      Mikey, may I suggest you try Ritalin?

      • avatarWilliam says:

        I’m a thinking he already knows these things. He just likes to stir us all up. I truly do not believe there is a desire to really understand a pro-2A position or even to convince us of a “noble cause”. I think it’s a desire for strife. I also wonder if he allows these kinds of posts from pro-2A-ers on his blog. I think this is more than wanting to bring another opinion.

  8. avatartdiinva says:

    I am old and in good shape (61, 5’9+”/180lbs. Same weight and physical condition as I was at 40 adjusted for wear and tear on joints.

    I agree that carrying is a something that changes the way your relate to people and increases your responsiblities. That is one of the reasons that I don’t carry if I believe the threat is insignificant. I will take my chances walking through the Tysons Corner Mall unarmed. I can’t carry into the Pentagon or even have the weapon in the car in the lot so much of my day places carry out of bounds anyway. My wife has even more problems. She works in DC. When I do carry I tend to dress up; no jeans or teeshirts. Oh, and I open carry every once in while in the park when I walk the dogs late at night just to get comfortable with the concept of OC in an urban setting.

  9. avatarAbunai says:

    Good article, but I’ve got to take issue with your holster advice.

    I’ve found OWB holsters impractical and difficult to conceal. I’ve had great luck with most IWB holsters, but really like the designs that ‘spread’ the pistol out on your belt. Lately, I’ve been using the CrossBreed Supertuck to carry my Glock – it just disappears and can be concealed with just about any shirt. It’s very comfortable for all day carry.

    And just so you don’t think I’m pimpin’ for CrossBreed, I also use a Sparks VM2 for my 1911, and a Kramer #3 for my PM9.

    The point is, correct holster choice is critical to successful concealment. With the right IWB holster mated to the right pistol, you don’t need a “shirt [that] has to hang to mid-thigh length.” Assuming you’ve got a decent belt, any shirt will do – even while wearing shorts. All it takes is the right holster/pistol combination.

    • avatartaurus609 says:

      Abunai, great point, I have two crossbreed holsters and have and will recommend them to all I can. I have a Serpa and Fobus holster for those same two guns, and I quit using them after I got the Super Tuck Deluxe from Crossbreed, and as you I have nothing to gain from hawking Crossbreed. Before I purchased the Crossbreeds I was constantly making sure that my shirt or coat was not riding up showing the bottom of the holsters, now I don’t have to worry about it. Plus I have to disagree with Jeff, I’m almost 60 years old, am over weight with a spare tire around my waist, and live in the midwest with our oppressive humidity, and have not had problem one with the Crossbreed IWB holsters. They (Crossbreed) have a two week trial period, and they really are not that expensive at around $70.00 a piece, and I’ll bet that’s a lot less than the Garretts. And did I mention the Crossbreeds are American made.

  10. avatarAndrew Snyder says:

    I have an IWB holster for my when i carry my glock, works ok for me. I will +1 the wear it at 3 o’clock position though.

    However, I usually CC my Makarov. I have a holster for the Makarov, but I only use it when I am wearing shorts and a T-shirt; otherwise the gun is small enough I just put it in my jacket pocket or even my pants pocket. No one can tell, and I can wear whatever clothes I want without giving anything away. I have to put my jacket on the chair a weird way when eating at a restaurant, but other than that it works really well.

    The point is if you are going to CC then get a gun that is easy to conceal. My Glock is a canon compared to my Makarov in both size and power, but the Makarov is good enough to get the job done and in a nice little package. I simply weigh the risks before I leave the house. If I am going to be in a bad area, or engaged in what I consider a high risk activity (say walking part of the Appalachian Trail), then I pack the Glock with the Makarov as BUG. If there is almost no risk (say going to Tyson’s corner mall or the IKEA at Potomac Mills) then I typically leave the guns at home and pack a tactical knife instead. All other times it is the Makarov because it is easy to hide and still accurate and deadly enough to at least buy me enough time to get myself and my family to safety.

  11. avatarChuck says:

    Good article with a lot to think about. I am over 50 and hefty. I CC my Sig P220R Carry .45 ACP in a Galco Kydex IWB at the 4-5 o’clock position under a covert shirt (several shirts from different sources) and it is very comfortable for me. I home carry with the same setup and it doesn’t get in my way except in the bathroom, where I remove the pistol and put it on the sink rim. It really depends on the person, what works for each one of us.

  12. avatarDerek says:

    Nice article, lots of brain food. I will agree with others, however, that IWB is the way to go. With a good IWB holster you don’t need a shirt that hangs around your knees. I wear a G20SF in a Crossbreed SuperTuck and it hides just fine under a dark, loose t-shirt or Charlie Sheen shirt. Granted I’m not the smallest guy in the world (6′ 225 LBS) but that’s a fat slide and there’s a WHOLE lot of real estate on that grip.

  13. avatarNeil says:

    I know most of you will hate this, but my mouse gun (Ruger LCP) fits nicely in my rear Levi pocket.

    • avatarBob H says:

      +1
      My work gun is a .32NAA. It fits nicely in my front pants pocket inside a Mitch Rosen cowhide (rough outside) pocket holster.

    • avatarHD76 says:

      Same here, until recently, my daily carry was a Keltec P3at. Sat in my slacks pocket very nicely (with a pocket holster, of course).

      If I am extra worried about printing somewhere that it may be an issue, I’ll go back to the Keltec.

  14. avatarTheodore says:

    “But concealing a full size 1911 is pretty tough unless you’re a very big person.”

    No it isn’t. The idea that a full-size 1911 can’t be concealed by the average person is a myth, invented by people who either never tried, can’t hack the .45, or are trying to sell small guns. At 6′, 205, I’m just slightly over average height and weight. I carry a full-size 1911 exclusively. I have no problem concealing it.

    I carry my 1911 in a Cactus holster from Dwight’s Gunleather. He also made a gun belt for me. The holster can be worn IWB or OWB, tucked or untucked. I wear it just behind my hip. I usually carry IWB in a t-shirt and jeans and I haven’t had to modify my wardrobe, the only caveat being that certain t-shirts aren’t long enough to keep the gun covered during normal activities. That’s okay, I have a lot of t-shirts.

    Actually the biggest concern I had was whether I’d be comfortable driving my Miatas while wearing a gun. Turned out not to be a problem at all. Access while in the car is a problem, but that’s a function of where I wear the gun, not the gun itself.

    The full-size 1911 is not that big. It’s not that heavy. It’s not that hard to conceal. Give it a try some time. You might be surprised.

    • Theodore (Ted?),

      “At 6′, 205, I’m just slightly over average height and weight.” – With all due respect, the “average” male is 5′ 8″ and weights 150 lbs. Are you from Texas? (Just kidding)

      Yes, I can conceal a full size 1911 and do so every Sunday and Monday when shooting IDPA but my carry gun is much smaller and easier to hide for those of us that wish we were 6′ and 205 lbs. :-)

      Jeff

      • avatarTheodore says:

        No, but I used to live there…

        Average US male in the 20-74 age group is 5’9 1/2″, 190 lbs. That’s from a 2004 CDC report. We’ve probably gotten a little taller and fatter since then.

        The full-size 1911 is really not that hard to conceal. When I first started looking into carrying I thought it couldn’t be done…but then I tried it. And I can. And I do. And I think a lot of people can who would if they thought they could, but they’ve been told so often that “you can’t hide that big heavy gun” that they believe it. And it just ain’t so.

  15. avatarRalph says:

    I went through a lot of holsters before I locked onto Remora. It isn’t Kydex or leather. My weight is far from sylph-like. And hoo boy, Jeffrey, I’ll never see 50 again, not even in my rearview mirror. Still, for me the Remora IWB holster is the best CCW gear that money can buy, period. So while I enjoyed your article very much, I disagree with everything you said about holsters.

    As far as taking on additional responsibilities when we walk about strapped, on that we agree. Just a few of those responsibilities include: never having an ND and accidentally hurting someone; practicing religiously so that if we must weaponize our guns we can do so properly and accurately; knowing the Four Rules of gun handling; and knowing the law.

  16. I write these articles so RF will let me photograph cool firearms. How come no one comments on the photography? (LOL)

    • avatarRobert Farago says:

      Awesome photos! And though it’s not getting loads of comments, it’s the second most popular post of the day. Thanks!

    • avatarRudy says:

      Folks just sitting drooling and staring with hypnotized look at you photos, Jeffrey! :)

  17. avatarracer88 says:

    “One more thing about carrying concealed in the summer. Wearing shorts and carrying concealed is darn near impossible in my opinion. To cover your holster and firearm your shirt has to hang to mid-thigh length. Wear this long of shirt with shorts and folks are gonna notice that something’s just not quite right about you.”

    Great article! But, this one part made me scratch my head. I live in Florida. It’s effectively summer year-round. I carry concealed while wearing shorts nearly every weekend. I found some great long-cut t-shirts at Duluth Trading Co. They’re longer than regular shirts. But, they are not mid-thigh “dresses.” I’d say they come down to “mid-butt.” I can easily access my front and rear pockets. But, I don’t have to worry about it riding up over my pistol / holster.

    FWIW, my carry rig is a Glock 27 in a Crossbreed Supertuck at about 4:30. During the week, I wear business attire with dress shirt tucked in. Weekends are shorts and untucked polo or t-shirt. I also wear an undershirt, which makes the IWB system very comfortable. Nobody knows.

    PS… great photography! ;)

  18. avatarTSgt B says:

    Mike:
    In the proper context, using the English language as expressed at the time in the Second Amendment, “well regulated militia” was meant to mean, and understood by our Founders, to be the body of the People, well-trained (regulated) in the use of arms for military (militia) purposes. You would do well to read (or have someone read to you) the entire Constitution, the Federalist Papers, and the written works of not only our Founders, but the authors of what the Founders read.

    Do you have the slightest clue as to what an ass you promote yourself to be?

    TSgt B

  19. avatarGhostwriter says:

    Always appreciative of information provided as derived from actual experience.
    Well done Mr. Jeffrey Lynch. Thank you.

    Inappropriate as this may well prove itself to be, and with no intention of detracting from Mr. Lynch’s excellent work, I’m interested in knowing if anyone considers the phrase ‘our Second Amendment rights‘ to be somewhat misleading, and the phrase ‘When someone exercises their Second Amendment rights…’ to be, at least in part, erroneous?
    Just curious.

  20. avatarGhostwriter says:

    Mikeb302000;
    Please, Sir, don’t ever change, we love you just the way you are. I mean that, sincerely.

    Given the extensive debates involved and the agreed upon necessity to shorten whatever rights were recognized to be of such critical importance as to be specifically declared and enumerated in the Constitution of the United States—every word was, in fact very, very carefully chosen.
    ‘A well regulated militia being necessary for the security of a free state’ was no less than an expression of common knowledge derived from the disastrous consequences experienced in the American Revolutionary War for Independence from pitting armed Citizens formed into militias who were inadequately equipped, insufficiently trained in military tactics and maneuvers and often poorly led against professional soldiers of the most powerful army in existence at the time.

    Point of inquiry: ‘A well regulated militia being necessary for the security of a free state’…the security of a state free from what?

    • avatarLawrence says:

      “Point of inquiry: ‘A well regulated militia being necessary for the security of a free state’…the security of a state free from what?”

      … free from being a non-free state. A means to keep those n power form taking enough power to dictate that the free state become a non-free state against the general will of the citizens of that state.

      “The beauty of the second amendment is that it will not be needed until they try to take it.” -Thomas Jefferson.

      “An armed society is a polite society. Manners are good when one may have to back up his acts with his life.” – Robert A. Heinlein

  21. avatarjk says:

    Abunai:
    Great psudonym! For those who may not know, it is Japanese for “dangerous”.

    This a very good post, Jeff. As someone who carries every day and has done so for nearly ten years, I can attest to everything you covered. Whenever a friend or extended family member expresses an interest in getting their CCW and carrying on a regular basis, the first thing I tell them is that before they do, they need to be sure they have the right mindset and have a clear understanding of the responsibility of carrying a deadly weapon everywhere they go. This is when I use the example that since I began carrying a gun, I am a far more polite driver than I ever was before. No more New York taxi driver impersonations. In fact, since I carry the power of life and death on my person at all times, I will go to great lengths to avoid even the slightest of possible confrontations. When the libtards talk of wild west shootouts over parking spaces, they have no clue of what they speak.
    I also explain the problems with clothing and make sure they understand that small lifestyle changes will be required.
    I often wear a Milt Sparks VM2 for my 3″ Kimber but tend to prefer OWB carry most of the time. This is the first I have heard of Garrett. Thank you for including them in your post as their product looks to be of outstanding quality.

    jk

  22. avatarMatt says:

    Sir, how do you feel about this video?

  23. avatarSnake Eater 332 says:

    Still no response to the video clip posted by Matt?

    You lost all credibility when you said you switched from a functional and efficient S&W M&P to a POS short-barreled Kimber

  24. avatarLawrence says:

    The greatest self-defense weapon we have is located directly between our ears.

    Packing a .45 ACP enhances this self-defense capability to a fine degree, to be sure.

    But packing it stupidly as in not using our primary tool (brain) in conjunction with our secondary tool (pistol) makes the difference between wisely-safe and foolishly-dangerous.

    Looking to our firearms as our primary means of self-defense is foolish in the extreme.

    Brain first, practice second, and carrying third is the wining combination.

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